Introduction to catamarans

Small "beach cats," such as the Hobie 16 featured in this section, require slightly different techniques from sailing a dinghy. While all the principles of wind, balance, and trim are the same, "Go for speed!" is always the golden rule for catamaran sailors.

ANATOMY OF A CATAMARAN

Look at the photographs on this page, and it will become clear why catamarans can sail so fast. Both crews are flying the windward hull, with just the leeward hull in the water. That super-slim hull has much less wetted surface area than any dinghy, which means there is far less drag. In addition, each of these catamarans has a beam of 8 ft (2.43 m), which is wider than any conventional dinghy hull (although not as wide as some high performance dinghies fitted with wings or racks). The beam of a catamaran gives a crew with twin trapezes a huge amount of leverage, which allows them to sail with a bigger rig than a similar length monohull.

KEEPING A CATAMARAN UP TO SPEED

Catamarans perform best in moderate to fresh winds of Force 3—5. They rely on being able to lift the windward hull to sail fast. In lighter winds they tend to

FULL SPEED UPWIND

This Hurricane 5.9 is beating upwind. It will not point as high as a dinghy but will sail a lot faster. Here the crew hit full speed sailing to windward.

stick to the water, and can be frustrating to sail. In stronger winds, the speed of a catamaran can make it difficult to control, with a spectacular cartwheel capsize known as "pitchpoling" likely to catch less experienced sailors.

Sailboat Pitchpoling

FULL SPEED OFFWIND

A Hobie 16 is fastest on a broad reach with spinnaker. Sails are sheeted in tightly because speed moves the apparent wind forward

FULL SPEED OFFWIND

A Hobie 16 is fastest on a broad reach with spinnaker. Sails are sheeted in tightly because speed moves the apparent wind forward introduction to catamarans

Hoist sails with the catamaran head to wind.

RIGGING

The rigging procedure of individual makes of catamaran vary. Catamaran novices are advised to familiarize themselves with the manual and, ideally to practice rigging with someone experienced with this type of boat. The steps below indicate some of the key stages of rigging a Hobie 16. Most catamarans have full-length battens in the mainsail, which create rigidity at speed; the jib may also have battens to help stabilize the sail. Loads on the sails are extremely high, Most have a halyard lock at the top of the mast, which is designed to stop the halyard from stretching.

Hoist sails with the catamaran head to wind.

IClip the jib on a Hobie 16

to the forestay with plastic "hanks." Other catamarans have a full-length zipper up the jib luff.

2 The mainsail headboard withstands heavy loads. The bolt rope fits into a slot in the mast, and a double purchase on the halyard makes it easier to hoist.

Rig the multi-purchase mainsheet, which controls the mainsail. It is combined with a traveler control that allows the mainsheet to slide across the width of both hulls.

Rig the multi-purchase mainsheet, which controls the mainsail. It is combined with a traveler control that allows the mainsheet to slide across the width of both hulls.

5 Pull down the luff of the mainsail tightly.

The downhaul controls the distribution of power in the sail.

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

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